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Newsletter #856: The “Get Rid of It” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Most businesses are obsessed with adding something — more products, more features, and more complications. But some smart marketers are showing how much is possible by doing the opposite. What you should explore cutting:

1. The packaging
2. The jargon
3. The prices
4. Check it out: The Shakespeare Insult Kit

1. The packaging

Unnecessary packaging can be a big source of expense for you, your customers, and the environment. What if you got rid of it all? Amazon came close with their much-loved “frustration-free packaging,” and now In.gredients, a new Austin-based grocery store, is going all the way. They’re doing away with packaging (at least as much as food regulations allow) and asking customers to bring their own containers, bags, and boxes. If you forget yours, they’ll have recyclable ones you can borrow. And while the store has yet to open, they’re already getting tons of buzz from national press, environmental activists, and the local Austin community.

The lesson: What radical overhaul of your business or your industry could you do by removing something that nobody actually needs?

Learn more: in.gredients

2. The jargon

Jargon is a bad thing. The more complicated your communication, the harder it is for a prospective customer to make a decision. In fact, in one study by branding firm Siegel + Gale, health insurance brands alone could gain $6 billion by offering greater transparency and simplicity in their products and communication. That’s a lot of money for the taking by just communicating more clearly — something that would make both yours and your customers’ lives easier.

The lesson: Customers know when you’re using jargon, fuzzy messaging, and suspicious language — and it’s costing you money.

Learn more: MediaPost

3. The prices

Here’s something customers love to see go away: Prices. It might be hard to keep the lights on if you started giving everything away, but a store in Long Beach is built on this principle. Their motto: “Share what you have, take what you need.” The store is run by volunteers and is designed to promote sharing and community building. And while you can’t give everything away, think about how valuable something like this could be in your store. A hardware store could do it with old tools, an outfitter with used gear, and a bakery could try it with cookbooks or recipes.

The lesson: One of the biggest challenges for a retailer is getting people in the door, and removing the prices with helpful hand-me-downs like this could help you do it.

Learn more: CBS Los Angeles

4. Check it out: The Shakespeare Insult Kit

This is a great place to find classic insults to surprise your co-workers with. There are thousands of combinations here, leading to gems like “mammering, onion-eyed minnow,” “spongy, toad-spotted barnacle,” and “bootless, idle-headed measle.”

Check it out: Shakespeare Insult Kit

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